St. Francis de Sales Speaks of the Saints


280px-Simon_ushakov_last_supper_1685November 1st is All Saints Day in the Catholic calendar. St. Francis de Sales instructs us how we should regard them, call on them and learn from them.

He said in his “Introduction to the Devout Life”,

“Inasmuch as God continually sends us inspirations by means of His Angels, we may fitly send back our aspirations through the same channel. The souls of the holy dead, resting in Paradise, who are, as our Lord Himself has told us, “as the Angels in Heaven,” are also united to us in their prayers. My child, let us gladly join our hearts with these heavenly blessed ones; for even as the newly-fledged nightingale learns to sing from the elder birds, so by our sacred communing with the Saints we shall learn better to pray and sing the praises of the Lord. David is continually uniting his prayers with those of all the Saints and Angels.

BLessed Mother - CopyHonor, revere and respect the Blessed Virgin Mary with a very special love; she is the Mother of our Sovereign Lord, and so we are her children. Let us think of her with all the love and confidence of affectionate children; let us desire her love, and strive with true filial hearts to imitate her graces.

You will do well to choose out for yourself some individual Saint, whose life specially to study and imitate, and whose prayers may be more particularly offered on your behalf. The Saint bearing your own baptismal name would seem to be naturally assigned to you.

Consider the example of the Saints on all sides, what have they not done in order to love God and lead a devout life? Call to mind the Martyrs in their invincible firmness, and the tortures they endured in order to maintain their resolutions; remember the matrons and maidens, whiter than lilies in their purity, ruddier than the rose in their love, who at every age, from childhood upward, bore all manner of martyrdom sooner than forsake their resolutions, not only such as concerned their profession of faith, but that of devotion; some dying rather than lose their virginity, others rather than cease their works of mercy to the sick and sorrowful. Truly the frail sex has set forth no small courage in such ways. Consider all the Saintly Confessors, how heartily they despised the world, and how they stood by their resolutions, taken unreservedly and kept inviolably. Remember what Saint Augustine says of his mother Monica, of her determination to serve God in her married life and in her widowhood; and Saint Jerome and his beloved daughter Saint Paula amid so many changes and chances. What may we not achieve with such patterns before our eyes? They were but what we are, they wrought for the same God, seeking the same graces; why may not we do as much in our own state of life, and according to our several vocations, on behalf of our most cherished resolutions and holy profession of faith?

 

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